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Weekend reads:Tenured faculty under review, changes on the bench, lockdown generation speaks up


Weekend reads:Tenured faculty under review, changes on the bench, lockdown generation speaks up

Sep 17, 2023 | 8:47 am ET
By Clayton Henkel
Weekend reads:Tenured faculty under review, changes on the bench, lockdown generation speaks up
North Carolina State Capitol Photo: Clayton Henkel

UNC System examining tenure review, incentivizing faculty retirements


Peter Hans

UNC System President Peter Hans speaks in a Wednesday committee meeting. (Image: PBS NC live feed)

By Joe Killian

The system wants a more rigorous review process for tenured faculty

The UNC System Board of Governors is asking for a more uniform and rigorous tenure review process, with some members questioning low number of faculty who aren’t meeting expectations.

In occasionally tense conversations during a day of committee meetings Wednesday, board members, faculty and campus administrators discussed the often-misunderstood issue of tenure — which has become a subject of national debate in higher education — and how professors are reviewed. [Read more...]

Their academic freedom in jeopardy, university faculty in NC, other southern states want out

a photo of the UNC Chapel-Hill campus
Faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill are among a large group at southeastern campuses who are concerned about conservative attack on academic freedom. Photo: Clayton Henkel

By Joe Killian

University faculty members in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Texas say they wouldn’t recommend their state to other academics, according to a new survey from the American Association of University Professors. Many of them want to leave their campuses for jobs in other states or abandon the profession altogether, citing a hostile political climate for higher education and threats to academic freedom.

The survey of 4,250 faculty members in the four states, fielded in August, found low morale and concern for the future among respondents. Nearly two-thirds said they would not recommend their state as a desirable place to work for colleagues. Almost a third said they are actively considering interviewing elsewhere in the coming academic year. [Read more...]

Former Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan joins growing Governor’s race field

Mike Morgan
Former NC Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan – Photo: https://twitter.com/judgemikemorgan

By: Rob Schofield  

As had been intimated in a series of recent public comments and social media posts, newly retired North Carolina state Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in the primary election that takes place next March.

Morgan’s entry into the field makes him the second prominent Democrat to enter the race. Attorney General Josh Stein, who recently received the endorsement of outgoing Gov. Roy Cooper, declared his candidacy in January. [Read more...]

Gov. Cooper selects Judge Allison Riggs to fill NC Supreme Court vacancy

Governor Roy Cooper speaks as Judge Allison Riggs and Judge Carolyn Thompson look on.
Governor Cooper appointed Judge Allison Riggs to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court and Judge Carolyn Thompson to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. (Photo: Office of Gov. Roy Cooper. )

By Clayton Henkel

Nine months after Governor Roy Cooper appointed Allison Riggs to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Cooper turned to Riggs again today, asking her to fill the vacancy created by the recent resignation of state Associate Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan.

In announcing the promotion Monday afternoon, the governor voiced unwavering confidence in both Riggs and for the woman who will be taking Riggs’ seat on the Court of Appeals. [Read more…]

Elections changes giving NC legislators more power move back to the forefront

Voters line up to vote.
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By Lynn Bonner 

A House bill appears to allow public access to voted ballots

Republicans’ multi-tiered reconstruction of elections in North Carolina moved ahead Wednesday with House committee approval of a bill remaking state and local elections administration that opponents see as a path toward reduced early voting and gridlock.

The bill takes away the governor’s power to appoint members to the State Board of Elections and gives it to legislators. The State Board of Elections would grow from five to eight members. Four of the eight members would be appointed by Republican legislative leaders and four by Democratic leaders. Membership on the 100 county boards of election would be reduced from five to four, with two members appointed by Republican legislators and two by Democrats.[Read more...]

Advocates, administrators: ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ is a burden for Chatham County Schools

Public Strong School advocates listen during a Chatham County Board of Education meeting
Public Strong School advocates listen during a Chatham County Board of Education meeting. Photo/Greg Childress

By Greg Childress

State Superintendent Truitt has asked lawmakers to extend Sept. 15 deadline for new mandates, but legislative action appears unlikely.

Days before a legal deadline, Chatham County public school leaders are struggling to implement provisions contained in Senate Bill 49, a controversial bill that became state law in mid-August and that requires educators to alert parents if their child changes their name or pronoun at school. It also restricts instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms.

Public school districts statewide have until Friday Sept. 15 to incorporate policy provisions required by the new law. [Read more.…]

DEQ fights back against ruling in favor of Wake Stone mine near Umstead State Park

Weekend reads:Tenured faculty under review, changes on the bench, lockdown generation speaks up

By Lisa Sorg

Agency has appealed Judge Van der Vaart’s ruling to Superior Court; asks for a temporary stay

Administrative Law Judge Donald Van der Vaart ignored evidence, committed logical errors and misinterpreted state law when he ruled in favor of Wake Stone, which plans to expand its Triangle quarry to abut Umstead State Park in Raleigh. Those are among the allegations included in documents filed last week by the NC Department of Environmental Quality, which is appealing Van der Vaart’s decision to Wake Superior Court.

DEQ also asked the court to temporarily halt construction on the expansion until the dispute is resolved. [Read more...]

Start to the new school year sends a message about North Carolina’s future   (commentary)

an empty classroom
Empty classrooms like this could become a more common phenomenon if North Carolina leaders fail to invest in public school infrastructure necessary to cope with a warming climate. Photo: Getty Images

By Rob Schofield

Blistering summers that go on and on and the discomfort they cause for humans are far from the only (or worst) negative impacts of the global climate emergency.

Similarly, when it comes to public education in North Carolina, bringing school facilities up to snuff is just one item on a to-do list that’s as long as your arm.

That said, it’s been impossible not to be struck by the illustrative way these two truck-size issues have converged across the state in recent days, and the alarm that the convergence ought to be signaling. [Read more…]

‘The lockdown generation’ calls on Republicans to reform gun laws

Weekend reads:Tenured faculty under review, changes on the bench, lockdown generation speaks up
UNC Chapel Hill students demand the General Assembly take action to curb gun violence following a fatal shooting on their campus. (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

By Kelan Lyons

Rally takes place hours after Republicans advance a bill that expands access to concealed handguns

Students from across North Carolina gathered in front of the Legislative Building Tuesday to demand that Republicans pass bills that tighten people’s access to guns.

“Being part of the lockdown generation is not something you want to be a part of,” said Leah Krevat, a 20-year-old who has been a gun reform activist for five years. “We need to pass background checks, red flag laws that ban assault weapons, because we can’t keep living like this.”  [Read more...]

Legally required racial data can still fail to prove police stop people for ‘driving while Black’

flashing lights on a police car
Photo: Getty Images

By Kelan Lyons

More than 80% of Raleigh police officer’s traffic stops involved Black drivers. That wasn’t enough to prove Jeremy Johnson was searched because of his race.

Jeremy Johnson had parked his Ford Mustang beside a “No Trespassing” sign in the parking lot of Raleigh North Apartments in the early morning hours of Nov. 22, 2017. As Raleigh Police Officer B.A. Kuchen patrolled the lot, it looked to him like Johnson slid his body under the steering wheel, apparently trying to hide from the officer.

Kuchen would say later that he’d smelled marijuana when Johnson tried to get out of the car. Johnson didn’t heed his order to stay in the car, according to Kuchen. As Kuchen went to handcuff him, Johnson fled. Kuchen and another officer quickly tackled Johnson to the ground, cuffing him. The officers searched Johnson and found cocaine and marijuana.[Read more...]